Three episodes into season 12, and Mary’s gone. Not gone, gone, but gone to find herself, presumably. She was dead for 33 years, so Mary feeling out of place and unsure of herself makes sense. She’s needs to rediscover the world, and she can’t do that surrounded by two people who she should know, but who are ultimately strangers. Mary’s journey could be fascinating, but unfortunately, we probably won’t get to see it.
This is the issue I sometimes have with Supernatural, and it often times feels like a non-issue because it’s just the nature of the show. The story has always been about Sam and Dean, and other side characters just come and go when the story calls for it. There’s really no changing it. It’s about Sam and Dean, and it always will be. But often times, this leaves other potential stories to be abandoned or tossed out for the sake of only focusing on the brothers. For instance, Ellen and Jo only stuck around for some of season two, and then randomly appear in season five, only to die before things really got interesting. The entire Campbell family storyline from season six. Benny the vampire from season eight felt greatly underserved, as well. The angel Hannah from seasons nine and 10 leaves unexpectedly in a random monster-of-the-week episode, with little fanfare. And I fear the same is going to happen to Mary.
“The Foundry” does all the right things in setting up Mary’s departure, but it still feels a bit rushed. A lot of what Mary is feeling shows through in the way their hunting investigations are done — back in the day, Mary would go door to door, interviewing witnesses or family. Now, Dean and Sam do everything with the Internet. Come to think of it, back in the old Supernatural days, Dean and Sam used to investigate Mary’s way, too. Not understanding the Internet doesn’t keep Mary from doing her job, though. A job that involves an abandoned house, crying babies, and two unnatural dead bodies. It’s Mary who understands what’s happening here, not Sam and Dean. It’s Mary who understands the ghost kids are the victims, and a much darker threat lingers in the house. However, it’s a case that is weak in terms of layers and subtext. By the time the ghost is vanquished, we still didn’t have any idea why exactly people were being murdered and why there were multiple ghost kids hanging around. The previews made this case out to be something dark, scary, and mysterious, but it was disappointing in the execution. Ghost possession aside, nothing about this case held any interest for me.
Then Mary leaves, and the boys are understandably upset. For me, though, I couldn’t connect with their emotion. It didn’t feel genuine. That’s not a dig at Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who are still just so great in every episode. It more has to do with the timing of Mary’s departure. It’s too early. Did it need to happen? Yes, eventually. But after three episodes? Not at all. Sam and Dean, and the audience as a whole, barely got any time to know Mary, and vice versa. Sam and Dean’s reactions to Mary leaving make sense only on the surface level — she’s their mother, and she’s choosing to leave them. But as far as really knowing her on a more personal level beyond the role of mother, they don’t. And so, what should be an emotional scene isn’t earned. Maybe it would have been down the line.
I have no doubt Mary will be back. Whether it’s only in the mid-season episodes and the end-season episodes, or she gets her own scenes and separate story for the majority of the season, we’ll just have to see. But going off previous seasons, it will probably be the former. And that’s a damn shame.
The best part of this episode? Agent Beyonce and Agent Jay-Z — er, I mean, the team up of Cas and Crowley on their hunt for Lucifer. Cas calling himself Agent Beyonce is fantastic, but how does he not understand the hunting thing yet? I can think of at least two other times when Dean has taught him how they do things, back in season five and season eight. But regardless, it’s Cas’s eccentricities that makes him endearing. More angel-demon buddy cop tropes, please.
Still not sold on Rick Springfield as Lucifer.